Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
Dubrovnik has once again found itself on an international list, this time in the top fifty most beautiful world cities. The Canadian travel agency, Flight Network, has just released a list of the world’s 50 most beautiful cities and Dubrovnik is the only Croatian city on the list, and is placed in 41st position between Seoul and San Sebastian in Spain.
The create this list Flight Network collected the opinions of travel writers, travel bloggers, and travel agencies from around the world.
“This extensive collaboration produced the most thoughtful and definitive list of the World’s Best Cities — a guide that will inspire travellers not only in 2019 but for years to come,” said the website. “This unparalleled guide will both challenge you to take a fresh look at famous megacities like New York and dream of new destinations like chilly and charming Bergen, Norway.”
The 50 most beautiful cities in the world, at least according to Flight Network, are:
1. Paris, France
2. New York, USA
3. London, England, UK
4. Venice, Italy
5. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
6. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
7. Cape Town, South Africa
8. San Francisco, California, USA
9. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
10. Rome, Italy
11. Singapore, Singapore
12. Lisbon, Portugal
13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
14. Prague, Czech Republic
15. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
16. Budapest, Hungary
17. Istanbul, Turkey
18. Tokyo, Japan
19. Vienna, Austria
20. Buenos Aires, Argentina
21. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
22. San Diego, California, USA
23. Quebec City, Canada
24. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
25. Chicago, Illinois, USA
26. Bruges, Belgium
27. Madrid, Spain
28. Havana, Cuba
29. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
30. Jerusalem, Israel
31. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
32. Quito, Ecuador
33. Zurich, Switzerland
34. Cusco, Peru
35. St. Petersburg, Russia
36. Berlin, Germany
37. Hanoi, Vietnam
38. Queenstown, New Zealand
39. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
40. Seoul, South Korea
41. Dubrovnik, Croatia
42. San Sebastian, Spain
43. Bangkok, Thailand
44. Cartagena, Colombia
45. Dublin, Ireland
46. Marrakesh, Morocco
47. Bergen, Norway
48. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
49. Beijing, China
50. Athens, Greece
2019 looks like being a record breaking year for Croatia’s airports with eleven million passengers expected to pass through them. In 2018 a grand total 10.5 million passengers travelled through the country’s airports but this year an extra half a million passengers are predicted.
In fact, according to data from the website EX-YU Aviation, Croatian airports have seen the seventh largest increase in passengers throughout the whole of the European Union this year. With only Austria, Latvia, Finland, Portugal, Malta and Hungary recording a bigger increase in guest numbers than Croatia this year.
From the beginning of the year and up to the end of August Croatian airports had handled 8.2 million passengers.
“Are there any clothing optional beaches in Dubrovnik?” asked a reader to my newspaper, it certainly isn’t the most unusual question I’ve ever had, “You mean nudist beaches,” I replied. There is of course a whole range of nudist beaches, or as the Germans call them FKK beaches, up and down the coastline, Dubrovnik included.
Ever since an English King and his American bride-to-be brought nudist tourism to Croatia, well allegedly. The famous couple cruised Croatia in 1936 on the yacht Nahlin, yes celebrities cruising the Adriatic is nothing new. During their cruise they stopped at the island of Rab where King Edward VIII obtained a special permission from the local government to swim without clothes, skinny dipping as we call it now. The permission was granted and hence nudist tourism was born in Croatia, at least that is the legend.
Not being a nudist I tend to avoid the known naked beaches. I have nothing against people getting free and liberated by taking their clothes off, but I really just don’t know where to look when everyone around me is naked. On the other hand my wife has a favourite beach in Zupa that just happens to be a nudist beach. Normally this beach is empty, especially as my wife goes swimming at the crack of dawn. However recently she had a rather crowded experience. My wife had found here early morning spot on the rocks, the dogs were hiding in the shade, and as the sun rose she dived into the August Adriatic.
Only a few minutes had passed when a group of German tourists, all aged in their late-forties, came wandering down to the beach, one lady and three men. She presumed they had just finished breakfast and fancied a swim. In a flash all their clothes fell to the ground. But swimming in the Adriatic was the last thing on their minds. “Ja! Ja! Ja!” alerted my wife to the unfolding scene on this Zupa beach, as Helga found herself rather busy with her three male companions. By the way - I used the name Helga as her stage name, it was the first name that popped into my head from that wonderful series Allo, Allo.
Seeing the unfolding 1970’s porn movie scene in Zupa my wife swum back to the shoreline a safe distance from the group entertainment. I have always had my suspicions that nudism was just a smokescreen for sex parties, and now that suspicion was being confirmed. Jumping out of sea to the echoes of “Ja! Ja! Ja!” and Helga twisting into ever stranger angles my wife decided enough was enough.
She has never really been shy, that’s just not in her nature. Wrapping herself in her towel, presumably to prove that she definitely wasn’t a nudist, she stormed over to the Zupa seaside orgy. “Stop, stop,” she cried. Although it would have been much more hilarious if she has shouted “Halt! Halt!” but that my twisted English humour. Four pairs of eyes now looked up at her. “Stop, what do you think you are doing?” she continued.
Again with my sarcastic wit I am pretty sure it was quite obvious what they were doing. And then one male German voice replied, a little sheepishly as he was caught in a compromising position, “But this is a nudist beach.” It was the that my wife made up for all the past errors at the beginning of this encounter when she replied “Yes, but it isn’t a f***ing beach!” She was correct, if a little blunt. What they were doing was not only never mentioned in the Karma Sutra, but it was also illegal, and quite frankly a little painful for Helga (although she wasn’t complaining.) And with that one line from my wife the German men lost their will to continue and in fact the means with which to continue and their manhood retreated.
As they wandered back to the safety, and indeed privacy of their hotel room, my wife was cursing herself for not phoning the police first. Helga and the three Musketeers will probably do the same thing again; in fact, they probably did the same thing on that same beach the next day. And one day a group of children will be walking past. If you want to get nude, no worries. If you want to do the mattress mambo then get a room.
American Airlines' summer service to Dubrovnik will last about a month longer next year, until late October.
The airline had already announced that interest and ticket sales for the new route from Dubrovnik to Philadelphia was stronger than they had expected. Dubrovnik became the first Croatian destination to receive direct flights from the US since the Homeland War and there are already rumours that other American cities will be added to the flight schedule of the largest American airline.
American Airlines will launch its 2020 summer service to Dubrovnik on June 1 and will run daily flights until October 24.
The Croatia capital, Zagreb, will soon have a new statue of an iconic world politician and civil rights activist, Mahatma Gandhi.
The Zagreb City Council have approved a plan this week to construct a two-metre-high statue to the Indian statesman in the Bundek Lake suburb of the capital. The statue will be financed by the Indian Embassy in Zagreb and will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gandhi.
According to reports on the website HINA the statue will “will feature a bronze bust of Gandhi made by the famous Indian sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar.” And the quote "There is no way to peace, peace is the way" will be engraved on the statue.
Zagreb, Split and Rijeka entrepreneurs achieved the highest consolidated net profits last year and are among the top 10 cities with the highest earnings. The list by the Financial Agency (Fina) also includes the cities of Porec, Karlovac, Velika Gorica, Dubrovnik, Nasice, Rovinj and Vukovar. Entrepreneurs' earnings in these 10 cities amount to HRK 21.09 billion, while last year's total net profit of all entrepreneurs in the country was HRK 28.2 billion, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.
Of course, the lion's share of that pie falls on Zagreb and entrepreneurs based in the capital have earned HRK 15.9 billion in net profit, which is 56 percent of the net profit of all entrepreneurs in the whole country. Compared to the ranking of the cities with the highest profits in 2017, there is no Zadar and Cakovec in the list for the last year. Instead of Zadar and Cakovec, the cities with the highest net profit of entrepreneurs in the last year are Nasice and Rovinj.
Zagreb-based entrepreneurs, 43,927 with 363,093 employees, made the largest net profit of HRK 15.9 billion, which is 56 percent of the total net profit of all entrepreneurs, and last year they generated HRK 375 billion or every other Kuna of the total income of all entrepreneurs.
The Financial Agency says the analysis of the results confirms that in the 10 cities where entrepreneurs have made the most profit, 49.3 percent have their headquarters and employ 52.1 percent of workers in the country. Their share in the total revenues of all entrepreneurs is 62.6 percent and in the net profit of 74.6 percent, because in all these cities the total net profit of the entrepreneurs amounted to HRK 21.09 billion.
Cities and profits
The 10 cities with the most entrepreneurial profits in 2018:
1. Zagreb - HRK 15.9 billion
2. Split - HRK 910.6 million
3. Rijeka - HRK 731.5 million
4. Poreč - HRK 637.8 million
5. Karlovac - HRK 520.1 million
6. Velika Gorica - HRK 516.9 million
7. Dubrovnik - HRK 514.4 million
8. Našice - HRK 509 million
9. Rovinj - HRK 468.7 million
10. Vukovar - HRK 342.1 million
Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, has stated that Croatia is ready and prepared for Brexit. "We have adopted the necessary laws to get Croatia prepared for (Brexit)," said the premier.
The Prime Minister made these announcements during a meeting on Croatia’s participation in the European Council.
- For the Republic of Croatia, it is vital to preserve the rights of Croatian citizens in the UK, as well as the UK citizens in Croatia, and provide them with clarity regarding their future status. – states the government website in the section Brexit – General Information.
As Croatia is so popular with British tourists there have been fears on hold ups on the border crossings after Brexit, at least until the situation becomes clearer.
- In case of a no deal-scenario, the UK leaving the EU without the agreement, the Croatian Government is currently undertaking all measures necessary for establishing the conditions of reciprocity in order to minimize the effect of withdrawal on citizens and business activities. The condition of reciprocity means that Croatian citizens in the UK would enjoy the same rights as the UK citizens in Croatia – states the website.
Wine Spectator is the most circulated wine magazine in the world, and being present in it is an imperative of every wine destination and winemaker.
The Wine Spectator held a Video Contest for the 13th year in a row to promote wine destinations, at which one Zagreb wine story caught the judge’s attention and received the first worldwide video production award in the field of wine in Croatia.
Specifically, the Winetastic Path Home video, produced by Sekunde Digital, a specialized marketing agency in the wine and tourism sector, won 3rd place and more importantly, much attention in the US market. This is the first time in 13 years that they have organized a Video Contest on the topic of wine, the award and the 3rd place was given to Croatia with a Zagreb wine story.
The short video, which takes the viewer through the dynamic wine scene of Zagreb and nearby vineyards, was shot in collaboration with the Zagreb Tourist Board. That this is a significant promotion is evidenced by the fact that the digital edition of this reputable magazine focusing on wines and lifestyle is visited by 1.1 million readers a month.
Check out the video below